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`Back when the VCR first came out, when there was still an argument between the merits of Beta versus VHS, and empty store-fronts were being refurbished into video outlet stores, I was thinking I would like to have a video recorder with playback. But my budget and priorities ruled it out of the question.

This story begins probably when I was driving along Bayshore Boulevard, a very wide city street, six lanes with a center divide of a lane and a half, running north and south along the east side of Bernal Heights in San Francisco. It was old time funky and industrial with brick and lumber yards, carpet and tile stores, recycled building fixtures or a saw sharpening shop. The street was called Bayshore because at one time it ran along the edge of the bay or more properly the bay's swampy wetlands. But now it was landlocked by fill that stretched east about 5 miles to the current shoreline of the bay proper. Of recent times fast food restaurants began to appear along the strip. Probably on a trip to the lumber-yard, I saw a guy trying to hawk what I thought was hot (stolen) stuff. And I made a decision that I had never made before or since. I decided that if I ever saw someone selling hot VCRs, I might be in the market.

If one has seen any good movies about scam artists like the 'The Sting' or 'The Flim Flam Man', or of course one reads about scams and con games all the time in the papers, or sees news stories on television, one may understand that scams are probably a very American art form.

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